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Pakistan demolishes bin Laden compound

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 27, 2012 at 7:53 a.m.


In this this May 3, 2011, file photo, media and local residents gather outside the compound where al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was caught and killed, in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

— Pakistani authorities have reduced the house where Osama bin Laden lived for years before he was killed by U.S. commandos to rubble.

Workers completed the demolition job in the garrison town of Abbottabad in northwest Pakistan on Monday.

The al-Qaida leader moved into the three-story house in 2005. Acting on intelligence gathered by the CIA, a team of U.S. commandos flew in by helicopter from Afghanistan and killed bin Laden on May 2 before dumping his body at sea hours later.

The operation left Pakistan's army in the awkward position of explaining why it had not detected the U.S. raid, and how bin Laden was able to live in the town without its knowledge. U.S. officials have said they have found no evidence that senior Pakistani officials were in the know about bin Laden's whereabouts.

Mechanized backhoe vehicles and construction workers began pulling down the house on Saturday night, working under floodlights.

An Associated Press photographer said Monday the job was completed, save for a section of its boundary walls.

The house stood less than half a mile from one of the Pakistan army's top training academies.

Authorities never allowed journalists inside the building, and starting from a few days after the raid stopped them from even getting close to it.

Officials did not explain why the house was destroyed. Some residents of Abbottabad thought it should be a tourist attraction, although given the sensitivities surrounding the property it was hard to see the government developing it as one.

Later Monday a bomb exploded outside a rally held by northwestern Pakistan's dominant political party, killing five people, police officer Hussain Khan said.

The blast took place in the town of Nowshera in the northwest's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa district.


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